Talking About Books With Strangers On The Street

The Joy (And Importance) Of Book TalkAnother weekend, another show. I hauled my Palimpsestic wares to Old Town Fort Collins again yesterday for a Freedom Market.

Today’s a recovery day. It seems like it always takes a day to return to myself after time spent out in the world interacting with people, especially after something like the Freedom Market, which literally involved spending the day in a tent set up on a downtown street. I’m not shy,—I’m more than willing to chat with my customers, and I enjoy doing so—but I am an introvert, so I’m always grateful to return to my quiet house, my books, and my laptop.

One of my favorite things to do when I am out interacting with customers, though, is to ask about the books they love. Talking about books with any of my customers is fun, but the younger ones are my absolute favorites. This weekend, I met a seven-year-old who liked to read Junie B. Jones books and “some things by Judy Blume.” I talked to a gaggle of tween girls who adored Divergent, but also have been reading Tom Sawyer and thinking about Treasure Island. I chatted with college students whose favorites included both Sherlock Holmes and Ray Bradbury.

It makes me ridiculously happy to know that the love of books is alive and well out there.

Talking with my customers about their current favorites and their fond memories of stories from their childhood made me think. One of the reasons I make the things I do is to remind people of the role books have played in their lives. I hope that people who bring home an Agatha Christie wreath or a Little Women garland will look at it and remember the joy those books brought them the first time they read them. Then, maybe, they’ll pick up something new, something they haven’t read before. Maybe they’ll fall in love all over again. And if someone visits and sees that wreath hanging on their wall? If they start a discussion about it? It’s a chain reaction.

That’s what talking about books is all about. I’m realizing I don’t do it often enough. What’s the best discussion you’ve had about a book recently?

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